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Bin Laden had planned attack on ‘rail sector’

Published: May 6, 2011
WASHINGTON — The Al Qaeda terrorist network had initiated plans to attack the “rail sector” on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Department of Homeland Security has announced. The agency has made clear, however, that the industry is under no imminent threat of terrorist attack.

The planned attack was revealed in information discovered Sunday, when Navy Seals stormed Al Qaeda boss Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. The plan was apparently to sabotage rail infrastructure near a valley or bridge so the train would fall down an embankment. The agency didn’t say whether a specific rail line or region was the target.

Matt Chandler, DHS’s press secretary, said the information is based on “initial reporting,” meaning it’s subject to change. He said the agency won’t immediately issue an alert under the National Terrorism Advisory Service. He said the Transportation Security Administration will issue a bulletin to “rail sector stakeholders.”

“We have no information of any imminent terrorist threat to the U.S. rail sector, but we wanted to make our partners aware of the alleged plotting; it is unclear if any further planning has been conducted since February of last year,” Chandler said.

TRAINS will update this story throughout the day as we talk with rail industry officials.

UPDATE, 10:09 a.m.
Patti Reilly, a spokeswoman with the Association of American Railroads, said her group is in close contact with the Department of Homeland Security. “We’ve been in contact and discussions with them since Bin Laden was first killed” he said. “All information we’re getting from DHS is being shared with our railroads.” She added that to the industry, security is a constant consideration even in absence of a specific threat.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the railroad is “immediately privy to any intelligence with respect to threats against rail. Amtrak employees remain at a heightened state of vigilance, and we will employ appropriate countermeasures as and when necessary.”

TRAINS has also learned the Department of Homeland Security’s guidance to railroads doesn’t specify whether Al Qaeda planned to target freight, passenger, or commuter rail.
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SAMUEL L PLEW from INDIANA said:
Mr Norton is dead on. That is the sprayed on evidence of the weakness. That and all the illegal immigration on a certain yellow railroad. Railfans can make as big a difference here as when they shut down the MX missile system due to their"vigilance". Really.. that is the evidence of their capability. You know what looks right and what doesn't, who belongs and who doesn't.
LOUIS HAMILTON from ILLINOIS said:
I will be watching and reprtng any odd behaviors while railfanning for the next month or so.
WILLIAM H KIMLEY said:
De-railers are advertised in Trains.

One was recently stollen in Toledo.

????????????????????
MARK HYMERS said:
Security is not new especially during WW2 and the Cold War era that followed. As a 10 year old in 1958 accompanied by my father railfanning in Altoona, a Pennsy policeman remarked that we weren't suppose to be taking pictures. When Dad replied that we were tourists from Ontario and that he was looking for a K4 (his favourite engine) or perhaps a T1 in the scrapline, the officer then invited us in his patrol car and proceeded to give us a private tour up and down the rows of dead steam engines. [Don't remember finding a K4 except at Horseshoe Curve.]
ROB O'NEILL from WASHINGTON said:
Personally, I think this is a time for the railfan community to shine. There isn't a railroad I've visited that I have not looked up and stored the emergency number for. If we all picked a day, and went out as a nationwide group and shot pictures of trains all day long, we would be the best deterrent against a terrorist attack. What terrorist would feel safe planting a device when there's a guy a mile away with a camera?

Regardless of the "substantiation" of these threats, I know that I will be trackside on 09-11-11, Cell phone, binoculars, and camera in hand, US flag flying high from the truck.
Blow up a train?

NOT ON MY WATCH!!
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